Williamson and Southee set to play their 100th Tests together against Australia

New Zealand
New Zealand captain Tim Southee and his predecessor Kane Williamson are set to play their 100th Tests together during the upcoming home series against Australia. March 8 will mark the occasion, the start of the second of two matches in the series, which follows a set of three T20Is.
The 14-member Test squad also includes Daryl Mitchell who has been on the sidelines recently tending to a long-term foot injury. Scott Kuggeleijn gets a look in as well, replacing Kyle Jamieson who has picked up a back problem and is looking at a year out of the game.
The NZC press release with the squad which arrived on Saturday also said, “Trent Boult, who will feature in the T20I series against Australia, was not considered for Test selection due to minimal recent red ball cricket – his last Test coming in June 2022 against England in Leeds.”

Southee and Williamson grew up playing cricket alongside each other, rising up the ranks from the Under-19 levels to become their country’s second-highest wicket-taker and leading run-scorer respectively. The two of them had also played their 50th Test together, against Zimbabwe in 2016, and will join Stephen Fleming, Daniel Vettori, Brendon McCullum and Ross Taylor as the only other New Zealand men with 100 Tests to their name.

“Their achievements at Test level speak for themselves,” head coach Gary Stead said, “And they are undoubtedly two of the greatest players to have ever worn the New Zealand Test shirt.”

Southee will follow Taylor, Virat Kohli and David Warner as just the fourth player in history to have played 100 matches in each format.

The first Test will begin on February 29 in Wellington and will signal the return of a vital member of this team. Mitchell has become such a dependable fixture in this Black Caps team that among those who have played 20 Tests, the only person who averages more than his 53.46 is Williamson with 55.90.

“[Mitchell] is a key member of the group and has proven, with his performances over the past 12 to 18 months, how much value he adds to the Test team,” New Zealand selector Sam Wells said. “Daryl will keep focusing on his rehabilitation over the next week and will be fit and ready for the first Test in Wellington.”

Kuggeleijn has been picked on the back of his performances for New Zealand A against Australia A last year, including match figures of 9-113 and an unbeaten 101 to lead the team to victory in the first four-day game. The Northern Districts seamer has continued his form in the Plunket Shield, leading the bowling charts with 22 wickets at 16 from the first four rounds.
Will O’Rourke retains his place after leaving one of the more lasting first impressions – the 22-year old quick claimed the best match figures by a debutant for New Zealand when he picked up 9 for 93 against South Africa in Hamilton earlier this week.

Mitchell Santner continues as the specialist spin bowling option, while recent Test double-centurion Rachin Ravindra and allrounder Glenn Phillips lending support.

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